The Perkins Palestine-Israel immersion course has been structured around the life of Jesus, visiting locations chronologically in the region that relate to his birth, his life and ministry, his crucifixion and resurrection. Today’s pilgrimage included visits to holy sites in Jerusalem important to the story of the end of Jesus’ life: the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Upper Room, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Near the Mount of Olives is the Church of the Pater Noster (Our Father), built over a cave associated with Jesus’ teaching the disciples the Lord’s Prayer, and also with his ascension. The French convent includes the Lord’s Prayer on ceramic tiles in 162 languages, including Braille. A highlight of the afternoon was the praying of the Lord’s Prayer by members of the Perkins group, in all our native languages: English, Korean, Spanish, and Arabic (by our guide, Iyad).
The day concluded with our group walking the stations of the Via Dolorosa – the path Jesus walked to his crucifixion – and arriving at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the holiest sites in Christendom. Long lines of pilgrims waited in line in the candlelit church, listening to the chants being sung by priests holding their evening service, in order to see the site traditionally held to be the tomb of Jesus.